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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Bizarre self-balancing Gyro-X vehicle back on the roads

Back in 1967, when a unique two-wheeled vehicle called the Gyro-X was built. At that time the prototype was built by a California-based company named Gyro Transport Systems. Physically the vehicle only has two wheels, one in front and one behind which at first glance looks more like a motorcycle than a car. The vehicle utilized a built-in gyroscope able to make it remain upright while on stationary condition or not moving.
Bizarre two-wheeled self-balancing Gyro-X vehicle gave an impressive demonstration at the 2019 Concorso d’Eleganza of Villa d’Este near Cernobbio, Italy. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/31RNWWd)
Even though the car developers initially hoped to take Gyro-X into production, it all faded when the company went bankrupt in the 1970 before the two-wheeled vehicle entered into production lines, and the only one of prototype was orphaned and neglected. Over the past 40 years, the vehicle has moved from one owner to another, which has made its conditions being more worse along the time.
Designer Alex Tremulis with the Gyro-X. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2OmoxAh)
The Gyro-X single-seat vehicle was created by a renowned industrial designer named Alex Tremulis. He had previously designed vehicles (the four-wheeled variety) for another big names of American automotives manufacturers such as Cord Automobile, Duesenberg, General Motors, Tucker Car Corporation and Ford, where he worked as Chief of Advanced Styling.
Bizarre self-balancing Gyro-X vehicle takes to the stage (on its two wheels) after winning the Dean Batchelor Trophy at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/338dHSl)
According to an article in the September 1967 issue of Science & Mechanics, a ready-made two-wheeled Gyro-X can drive up to a top speed of 125 mph (201 kph), and could swoop through 40-degree banked turns without tipping. It weighs only 1,850 pounds (839 kg), measured 47 inches (119 cm) in height, only 42 inches (107 cm) in width, and 15 feet,5 inches (4,7 meters) in length. It rolls on two 15-inches wheels, and uses a small engine with power of 80-horsepower.

Its single 20-inch hydraulically-driven gyroscope – developed by noted “gyrodynamist” Thomas O. Summers Jr. – spun at up to 6,000 rpm, creating 1,300 foot pounds (1,763 Nm) of torque. It did take approximately three minutes to build up to that speed, however, meaning that drivers couldn’t just get in and go. A set of training wheel-like retractable outriggers held the vehicle up in the meantime.
Bizarre self-balancing Gyro-X vehicle able to drive up to a top speed of 125 mph (201 kph), and could swoop through 40-degree banked turns without tipping. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2okogmJ)
Now, this bizzare two-wheeled vehicle has been owned by the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, United States since 2011 after it had passed hands several times and many modifications had been done. And finally the museum has successfully carried out a restoration project so that the vehicle condition has been recovered as it was in its hey days in the late 1960s.

Part of the restoration project was involved rebuilding the rear, replacing the two rear wheels with one, according to the original configuration. The missing gyroscope must also be rebuilt from scratch. To handle this, the museum has registered the service of Thrustcycle Enterprises - a company that is currently developing a gyroscopically-stable two-wheeled vehicle, known as SRT. Thrustcycle will also be tasked with rebuilding control and outriggers.
"The gyro people, their thing was that the cars were going to be narrower, they were going to take up half as much room - they will be more fuel efficient, they will be safer because it will be very difficult to flip them over," explained Jeff Lane, director of Lane Motor Museum. "The ideas are good, but I think in reality the gyroscopic part is very complicated and quite expensive... it always works on paper, but it doesn't always work in the workshop. This is a very obscure and strange part of history, but also is a very interesting part of history." he said further.
An impressive demonstration of a fully restored two-wheeled self-balancing 1967 Gyro-X vehicle at the 2019 Concorso d’Eleganza of Villa d’Este. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/31RNWWd)
And finally in 2017 the vehicle was fully restored and exhibited to the public at the the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. And again on this year, the bizarre 1967 Gyro-X two-wheeled vehicle was shown off in front of the world's automotive lovers at the 2019 Concorso d’Eleganza of Villa d’Este near Cernobbio, Italy.

See it for yourself on display at the Lane Motor Museum on a normal day. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | LANE MOTOR MUSEUM | BUZZ ANYTHING | AUTOWEEK | WIRED | NEW ATLAS]
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